Chart Beat

Taylor Hicks wrests The Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 crown away from Shakira and Wyclef Jean, plus news on Taylor Swift, Billie Joel and Rascal Flatts.

'HIPS' SLIPS; HICKS CLICKS: America's love affair with "American Idol" hasn't abated, as evidenced by the series garnering its highest ratings in its fifth season and this year's champ Taylor Hicks wresting The Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 crown away from Shakira and Wyclef Jean. Their "Hips Don't Lie" (Epic) slips to No. 2 while Hicks debuts in pole position with his first single "Do I Make You Proud" (Arista).

This is the fifth No. 1 for an "American Idol" competitor on the Hot 100. The first four were:

"A Moment Like This," Kelly Clarkson (Oct. 5, 2002)
"This Is the Night," Clay Aiken (June 28, 2003)
"I Believe," Fantasia (July 10, 2004)
"Inside Your Heaven," Carrie Underwood (July 2, 2005)

Clarkson's single jumped 52-1, setting the record for the biggest move to No. 1 in Hot 100 history. Aiken, Fantasia and Underwood all debuted at No. 1, as Hicks has done.

"Do I Make You Proud" is the 15th song to enter the Hot 100 on top.

Hicks is the fourth winner of the "American Idol" competition to secure a No. 1 spot on the Hot 100, following Clarkson, Fantasia and Underwood. Ruben Studdard's "Flying Without Wings" debuted at No. 2 the same week that runner-up Aiken's "This Is the Night" bowed at No. 1.

With "Proud" ending the run of "Hips" after two weeks, the rapid turnover of No. 1 songs in 2006 continues. At the exact half-way mark of the year, there have been 11 chart-toppers. There were only eight in all of 2005 and 11 in all of 2004. There were also 11 in 2003 and just seven in 2002.

No song has remained No. 1 more than five weeks this year, and there have now been 13 songs in a row that have been No. 1 for five weeks or less. That ties a similar streak of No. 1 hits from Jan. 16, 1999 to Oct. 9, 1999.

The ascension of Hicks keeps the gender wars one-sided for 2006. Hicks is the 14th male artist to top the Hot 100 this year. Only three females - Beyonce, Rihanna and Shakira - have led the list since January.

Hicks has made his label proud as he hands Arista its 36th No. 1 hit on the Hot 100. The label is in eighth place on the list of imprints with the most No. 1s. It should be noted that Arista is the youngest label in the top eight, with the first Arista single charting in 1975. The first No. 1 on the label founded by Clive Davis was "Saturday Night" by the Bay City Rollers in January 1976. The top eight labels with the most No. 1s are:

Columbia (95)
RCA (60)
Capitol (50)
Atlantic (42)
Epic (41)
Motown (38)
Warner Bros. (37)
Arista (36)

Hicks also debuts at No. 1 on the Pop 100 with "Do I Make You Proud." On the Hot Singles Sales chart, the two-sided single "Do I Make You Proud"/"Takin' It to the Streets," rockets 17-1. With three No. 1s in Hicks' column, the "American Idol" franchise now has 93 No. 1s, counting all charts compiled by the Billboard Information Group.


TAYLOR, TOO: Another Taylor debuts on a different chart, but this Taylor bears little resemblance to the "American Idol" winner. For starters, she's a 16-year-old girl.

Debuting at No. 75 on Hot Country Songs is Taylor Swift. That is the artist's name, but it would be understandable if there was some confusion about who is the artist on the song, which is titled "Tim McGraw."

This is not the first song to chart with an artist's name in the title. One of the most successful was Waylon Jennings' "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way," a No. 1 hit in 1975 that paid tribute to Hank Williams. A year later, Jennings found the tables turned, when he was name-checked in the title of David Allan Coe's "Willie, Waylon and Me."

Willie Nelson may hold the record for having the most mentions in song titles, including "Willie Nelson for President" by the Peter Dawson Band, "Willie, Won't You Sing a Song With Me" by George Burns and "Willie, Write Me a Song" by Ray Price.

And don't forget Ray Stevens' 1979 novelty number, "I Need Your Help Barry Manilow," though the artist in question was from the pop genre instead of the country field.


THE MAN FROM HICKSVILLE: No, it's not another item about Taylor Hicks.

The artist born May 9, 1949 in Hicksville, Long Island, New York returns to The Billboard 200 with his highest-charting set in almost nine years. Billy Joel debuts at No. 14 with the concert CD "12 Gardens Live" (Columbia). It's Joel's highest position on this chart since he peaked at No. 9 with "Greatest Hits Volume III" in September 1997.

This new album expands Joel's album chart span to 32 1/2 years, counting back to the January 1974 debut of "Piano Man."


LIFE IN THE FAST LANE: Six is the number to beat for Rascal Flatts, but this week the group rolled a seven. "Life Is a Highway" (Walt Disney/Lyric Street), the remake of the Tom Cochrane hit featured on the "Cars" soundtrack, makes a speedy move from 25-7 on the Hot 100.

That's just one slot short of matching the peak position of the Cochrane original, which went to No. 6 in 1992. It's also one rung shy of equaling Rascal Flatts' highest chart position to date: "What Hurts the Most" peaked at No. 6 in April.